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Incidents
Marshall vs. Two Privateers





Connecticut Privateer Brigantine Marshall Captures Two British Letters-of-Marque
3 September 1782



Connecticut Privateer Brigantine Marshall (also termed the Martial; Commander Charles Bulkley) was at sea in the late summer of 1782. Marshall was armed with fourteen 6-pounders and was sailing with a nominal crew of eighty men.1 Bulkley was a former Continental Navy officer and had commanded one other privateer. Bulkley had trouble recruiting a crew for the Marshall. He said: “I took the command of the Brig Marshall of 14 Guns and and all the officers and men we could get to man her was forty-nine. The cause was if captured they would be sent to the Jersey Prison Ship and they were almost sure to die.”2


About 3 September 17823 Marshall encountered two British letter-of-marque vessels at 30°N, 67°W. The 180,4 or 280-ton5 British Privateer Brig Ann (John McNeill) and the 200,6 or 300-ton7 British Privateer Ship New Salt Spring (James Jones). Ann  was armed with eight guns, and had a crew of fourteen men; New Salt Spring carried eight guns and had a crew of fifteen men.8 The guns on both vessels were mixed 4-pounders and 6-pounders.9 Both vessels had cargoes of rum and sugar. They sailed from Jamaica in the British West Indies on 20 July 1782 in a convoy of eighty vessels with a heavy escort, but had become separated.10


The British skippers decided to fight, but they had little chance against the Marshall.  Bulkley and his crew engaged the two for one hour before the British surrendered. Samuel Crowell was assigned as prize master to the Ann and Charles Turner to the New Salt Spring. Bulkley said of this cruise: “This cruise we captured a Schooner from the W. I. and a Ship and brig from Jamaica-the Ship and Brig we took in tow about a week and never cast them off until we arrived opposite Fisher’s Island Point.”11 Both were sent into New London, where they arrived on 10 September.12 The prizes were condemned.13


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

Marshall

80

14

42

[50]

Ann

180

8

[20]

14

New Salt Spring

200

8

[20]

15

British Total:

380

16

[40]

29

Time: 1 hour



1 NDAR, “Robert Morris to John Hancock,” VII, 574-576 and 576 note

2 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 18, from the Autobiography of Charles Bulkley

3 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 19 gives the date as 5 September. However Bulkley says they towed the prizes for a “week” [McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 18, from the Autobiography of Charles Bulkley] and the prizes arrived in New London on 10 September [The Connecticut Gazette; and The Universal Intelligencer [New London], Friday, September 13, 1782].

4 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 19

5 The Connecticut Gazette; and The Universal Intelligencer [New London], Friday, September 20, 1782

6 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 19

7 The Connecticut Gazette; and The Universal Intelligencer [New London], Friday, September 20, 1782

8 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 19

9 The Connecticut Gazette; and The Universal Intelligencer [New London], Friday, September 20, 1782

10 The Connecticut Gazette; and The Universal Intelligencer [New London], Friday, September 13, 1782

11 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 18, from the Autobiography of Charles Bulkley

12  The Connecticut Gazette; and The Universal Intelligencer [New London], Friday, September 13, 1782

13 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 19


Posted 9 September 2014 © awiatsea.com